With the Hedwig Village OfficeMax Closing Soon, We Remember OfficeMax’s Glory Days In Houston

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest submission from HHR’s good friend Anonymous in Houston with the photos taken by Mike

Sometimes retail blog posts just don’t go as planned. This is the case with this post. Only a few weeks ago, Mike and I discussed the possibility of us doing a blog post about OfficeMax and Staples’ small presence in the Houston area in current times. Both names are so rare in Houston these days that many of our readers might have forgotten that they both still exist in the Houston area. So, with that, Mike traveled to Hedwig Village to photograph the Hedwig Village OfficeMax located at 9429 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024.

Unfortunately, as you can see from the photos, Mike was greeted with the yellow and black banner of doom. The Hedwig Village OfficeMax is closing soon! Mike’s photos were taken in very late September 2023. The closing sale still appears to be in the early stages of the liquidation so we estimate that the store will still be open for a few more weeks, but we do not know the official closing date. Anyway, once we knew that this store was closing, it changed our plans for the post. Instead of focusing on OfficeMax and Staples’ small presence in Houston, we will instead have some general thoughts about the history of OfficeMax in the Houston area.

The OfficeMax name will continue to live on in the Houston area after the Hedwig Village store closes, but it is a bit difficult to know exactly how many OfficeMax locations are left in the Houston area. After OfficeMax’s merger with Office Depot in 2013, records for the two stores are a bit blurred. The Office Depot/OfficeMax website, for example, lists 1576 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019 as being a currently-open OfficeMax, but that store was rebannered to Office Depot two years ago. Aside from Hedwig Village, we believe that there are remaining OfficeMax stores in The Woodlands, Magnolia near The Woodlands, and in Cinco Ranch. Of course, it is possible that some of these locations will close soon as well. It is also interesting to note that all of these locations, including Hedwig Village, are in relatively wealthy areas of the metro area. The Hedwig Village location appears to be the last remaining OfficeMax in Harris County. For the record, the remaining Houston area Staples stores are at I-10 and Taylor St., Beltway 8 & Wallisville Rd., and near Baybrook Mall. There are still quite a few Office Depots in Houston, but Office Depot has been closing stores in recent years as well.

The Hedwig Village OfficeMax is, by itself, not a particularly interesting store from a historical perspective. It is one of OfficeMax’s newest Houston stores with it opening in 2005 after the former Target shopping center was redeveloped when Target moved to nearby Memorial City Mall, a mall recently profiled by Je of the Louisiana & Texas Retail Blog. Also, Office Depot-OfficeMax shoppers in the area will not have to go far to find another location as there is an Office Depot located just 1.6 miles west on Interstate 10 at 10217 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024. Those unfamiliar with Houston might be surprised to see two stores from the same chain so close together surviving for so long, but the Memorial City Mall area is a dense shopping district with many large offices and neighborhoods nearby so perhaps the two stores did well for a while.

OfficeMax entered Houston by acquiring another office supply chain, BizMart, in 1992. BizMart was based in Arlington, TX and was founded in the late 1980s in part by a former Tandy executive, Ron Steagall. Houston was one of their first expansion areas. BizMart announced their plans to enter Houston in 1988 and the first BizMart stores in Houston opened in 1990 after Office Depot entered Houston in 1988 during the big boom of big box office supply stores in Houston and in the rest of the country. Staples would not enter Houston until the mid-2000s.

BizMart would later be sold to Intelligent Electronics. Under the ownership of Intelligent Electronics, BizMart started opening BizMart Mega Centers which had expanded computer departments. In 1992, BizMart was sold to a chain from under the Kmart umbrella named OfficeMax. Due to Kmart’s own financial difficulties, OfficeMax was spun off as an independent company in 1995. Ron Steagall would later go on to co-found the short-lived LiL’ Things children’s-oriented big box stores, which had locations in Houston, in the mid-1990s.

BizMart had a fairly significant presence in Houston at the time that OfficeMax took them over and started rebannering their stores to the OfficeMax name. For those unfamiliar with BizMart, The Portal to Texas History has an excellent video from KXAS-TV in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area showing off a BizMart store in 1989. Like Office Depot stores at the time, BizMart was very much a warehouse-type store with computers, office furniture, and other items out on display for customers to interact with to make more informed purchases, but BizMart put a bit more emphasis on their displays rather than just stacking inventory to the ceiling. We would shop at the Northwest Mall BizMart during the brief time that the BizMart name was around in Houston and we generally preferred them to Office Depot even though Office Depot was closer to us due to BizMart being a bit more upscale and a tad less warehouse-like. Not long after OfficeMax bought BizMart, OfficeMax opened a store at the Willowbrook The Commons and that was the OfficeMax we shopped at most frequently.

Although big box office supply stores hardly seem remarkable in modern times, which probably helps explain their shrinking numbers, they were a big deal in the 1990s and 2000s. Prior to those days, there weren’t many options for buying office supplies locally outside of small local businesses which sold office supplies. In my area, the Willowbrook area, the main small office supply store was Reliable Office Supply, later known as Basic Office Supply, which was located at the Cy-Fair Plaza shopping center on Jones Rd. & Grant Rd. and, later, on Woodedge near Jones. In addition to stationary and other common office supplies, the big box office supply stores were also one of the national first chain stores to specialize in selling computers, computer software, and computer accessories. These stores were also some of the only chain stores which sold office furniture and, of course, these stores also had copy & printing centers.

In fact, one of OfficeMax’s big marketing pushes in the mid-1990s was the TriMax format where they advertised TriMax OfficeMax stores as being essentially three stores in one, an office supply store, a furniture store, and a copy center. Although the TriMax sub-banner was only used on a few locations, such as this one documented by Retail Retell of the Mid-South Retail Blog, the general concept continues to this day.

I find that in the retail enthusiast community, most retail enthusiasts preferred the pre-Office Depot merger OfficeMax over the other two big office supply chains. I agree with that sentiment. Since Staples was a late arriver here, Houston was a battle between Office Depot and OfficeMax during the prime years of office supply stores. While Office Depot did make their stores feel less warehouse-like by the late 1990s, their stores did not feel as upscale as OfficeMax’s stores which were more BizMart-like. Sure, OfficeMax stores were certainly big box stores, but their store designs and displays just felt a bit nicer. I also generally preferred their merchandise. Ultimately, we bought a lot of stuff from both stores, but it seemed like we bought more things from OfficeMax than from Office Depot.

As a computer enthusiast, OfficeMax was a great place to buy computer supplies. It was common in the early 2000s for computer enthusiasts to eagerly await the weekly OfficeMax sales circular to see what products OfficeMax would have severely discounted, if not free, after mail-in rebate. Although many stores, including Office Depot, had mail-in rebate fever in the early 2000s, it seems that OfficeMax pushed the rebate system more than anyone else. I remember getting quite a number of floppy diskettes and packages of CD-Rs from OfficeMax for free after rebate. Granted, the rebate process was neither pleasant nor expedient, but if you did manage to get the check in the mail, it did provide significant savings. Although I had a CD burner in the mid-1990s when they were quite expensive, I can remember many friends buying their first CD burners and other PC peripherals from OfficeMax due to OfficeMax’s aggressive pricing and rebates.

After the merger with Office Depot, the two stores are basically the same. However, as we see with the photos from the Hedwig Village location, OfficeMax stores are generally surviving with mid-2000s or older OfficeMax décor. It is not uncommon for retailers to still have mid-2000s décor here in current times, but the OfficeMax décor at the Hedwig Village OfficeMax does have a certain feel to it reminding me of the glory years of category-killer big box retail in general.

Do you have any memories or thoughts about OfficeMax, BizMart, or any of the other big box office supply stores? If so, share those thoughts with us in the comments section below. Also, if you have any news about office supply stores in your area, please share that news with us in the comments section as it is otherwise hard to find news about these stores.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out and link! As you probably already guessed from my Tupelo photoset and coverage of other locations, I have a soft spot for OfficeMax. I always preferred them to Office Depot anyhow given how the OfficeMax local to me growing up was smaller, easier to find stuff in, and more presentable with its drop ceiling, tile floors, and colorful atmosphere as compared to Office Depot’s cavernous, dark, gray, drab, warehouse-like interior. My favor of OfficeMax only increased when it began its liquidation in 2014 (after the merger) and that event inspired me to begin retail photography and join flickr! In the past I have posted some sort of OfficeMax tie-in to flickr every year to celebrate that anniversary, although I think I missed it last year. It’s harder to fit much into my photostream these days given how infrequently I upload compared to before, but I intend to upload something this year to commemorate the event. I think I’ve exhausted all the OfficeMax stores in my region at this point, but I’d always like to be on the lookout for the opportunity to see more, especially unique locations like this one.

    I’ve visited only a small number of OfficeMax locations, so maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I haven’t seen this particular décor in person. And since photos of office supply stores aren’t exactly the most prevalent online, haha, I don’t know that I’ve seen this package at all — or if I have, it wasn’t in great detail. The pictures in this post are fairly comprehensive and give me enough to see that I really like it! Big circle signs are always pretty cool in my book, especially the ones that use images on the inside. Like I wrote above, OfficeMax was always the more colorful of the two — Office Depot has made their liquidation signs colorful, and that’s about it, lol! — and I like seeing that affinity for color replicated in all the product imagery and many yellow accents. I also enjoy seeing the Courier New font that ties back to the chain’s logo! I have always appreciated how OfficeMax has actual décor, as Office Depot — at least in my experience — seems to rely more on signs printed within the individual store locations. This is admittedly a clever enough way of visually advertising the print center services, but it comes across as highly inconsistent and not very visually appealing. No offense to the employees who design the signs, of course, but there’s simply no way to make essentially “handmade” signs like that look as good as a professionally designed and installed retail décor package. I’m glad the only such sign in this store is the co-branded thank you sign at the front — which, on that note, is interesting to see. It feels like OfficeMax stores have been pushed to integrate the Office Depot logo (I’m really surprised to see those different handbaskets here!), but have any Office Depot stores recognized the OfficeMax brand in their locations?

    Like you, I also question if anyone actually buys toilet paper or cleaning supplies at office stores, lol. Those items, as well as breakroom stuff like coffee and candy, always seem waaaaay overpriced to me at such stores (and that’s after considering the fact that pretty much all merchandise in these places is already overpriced to begin with!). I guess maybe the stores sell it as an extension of the success such products have online? For instance, I know a ton of businesses seem to use Staples as their business supplier, including my office. I suppose they get good discounts or some other form of contract. But I can’t fathom many customers buy those things in person, unless they have the ability to get the same discount at the register and are simply picking it up locally.

    1. Thanks for sharing those awesome TriMax photos from Tupelo! The TriMax marketing campaign was an interesting one and I’m glad someone was able to find and document a TriMax store! I knew that you were an OfficeMax fan, but I didn’t realize that OfficeMax had such a large role in the formation of your Flickr page! That is pretty neat. Maybe I am in the minority, but I look forward to seeing any new OfficeMax content you may have!

      Oddly enough, between this Hedwig Village OfficeMax and the three others which I believe to still be open normally in Houston, all four have a decor package similar to this Hedwig Village store at least in the sense that they have the center ring and a similar department arrangement. The Cinco Ranch and Magnolia stores are probably from the 2000s, like this Hedwig Village store, but The Woodlands store is from the early days of OfficeMax in Houston so it was certainly redesigned to have that decor and layout I would think. The Woodlands store is the only one of the three that I’ve been to personally and I can only remember my last trip there, which was in around 2014, and so it did have the newer decor. Otherwise, most of my experiences at OfficeMax stores are at stores with decor and a layout similar to the Tupelo store in your photos.

      The organization I work for has an office supply contract with Office Depot. They call that part of the business ODP Business now. It was originally an OfficeMax contract so we have both OfficeMax and Office Depot products in the office. I used to work at a place which had a contract with Corporate Express/Staples so I’ve seen products from all three of the big chains at my workplaces!

      Anyway, at the place where I work now, we used to have an Office Depot (formerly OfficeMax, but I think it was converted some years before the merger) less than two miles from our office, but that Office Depot closed a few years ago. I don’t think my department ever went to the Office Depot to buy products under our contract as we just had stuff delivered to us, but we did get an e-mail from the Purchasing Department which inferred that some departments would get products and services from the actual store. The main issue was that some departments were apparently using the copy center at Office Depot and the Purchasing Department said that since the next closest Office Depot was several miles away, we had permission to use a local copy shop instead of being forced to use Office Depot. Anyway, I really can’t imagine we’d buy toilet paper from an Office Depot store since the stuff we have is much more industrial feeling than the Charmin and Cottonelle on the shelves at the Hedwig Village OfficeMax!

    1. The Sales Taxpayer Search, or STAX, is a good resource. I have been using it for a while, but there are many inaccuracies in it so you need to be careful in interpreting the information from it. In the case of OfficeMax’s STAX record, there are many stores in it which are active, but they have been closed for years. The Fry Rd. store is a good example of this.

      By my count, there are four open OfficeMaxes in Houston including Hedwig Village. It is possible there might be another one or two out there, but I really don’t think there is any more than that which are still open.

  2. I didn’t know their was a difference between Max and Depot. I’ve been to the Hedwig Village one, and the one just west of Gessner, which used to be a Wilson’s, then Service Merchandise. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which was a Max and which was a Depot if I hadn’t just read this. Just last week I was in one on Westheimer near Kirkwood, and I don’t remember which one it was. At least Staples was very red, and I didn’t know those were still in Houston, although barely.

    1. Yes, it is certainly hard to tell the difference between an OfficeMax and Office Depot today. Even back before the merger between the two companies, especially after the mid-1990s or so, the two stores were a lot more similar than they were different.

      There are two Office Depots on Westheimer quite close to Kirkwood, one is across from the Westchase Mall on Wilcrest and the other is on Eldridge. Given how close those two stores are to one another, it wouldn’t surprise me if one closes in the near future, but hopefully they can both stay open.

      1. I’m surprised the mini-Depot near Target is still alive. When I worked at Office Depot in Missouri City four years ago, the DM said the location was going to be shuttered as soon as the lease was up.

        1. That Office Depot on Westheimer & Eldridge is unusually small for an office supply chain store. If I had to guess which location would close between it and Wilcrest, I would guess it would be Eldridge, but perhaps the landlord has given Office Depot a more favorable lease. It is hard to say.